Facebook Watch “broadcast” today’s game and after the latest revelation that Mark Zuckerberg sold all of our personal information to China’s government, let’s take a look at what kind of information China was able to gather about us and the Giants in their thrilling come-from-behind victory in extra innings.
The first thing the People’s Republic of China (PRC) learned is how much Facebook makes off of each viewer of one of their MLB broadcasts.
The red “Live” bar means that Red China is accessing the information and that “32.4K” next to the eyeball is China seeing how many thousands of dollars Facebook makes off of you watching the game. So, I made Facebook $32,400 just by spending an afternoon watching the Giants be outplayed by the Diamondbacks.
That’s great for Facebook (I wasn’t the only person watching, of course), but it wasn’t all that great for me. While the video stream this time around was much more stable, I noticed that whenever I tabbed over to look at something else or switch to a different program that the broadcast and the viewing window got very buggy, choppy, and simply lagged.
I’m using Chrome, so I allow for a lot of RAM issues when moving around the desktop, but the timing of the stream issues made it very clear that being logged into Facebook exposed every keystroke and file stored on your computer to Facebook’s data mining. Which means that China knows that I was looking up Hunter Strickland’s splits against the Diamondbacks while watching the game (they’re very good, despite how he’s looked at times against them). Good luck weaponizing that knowledge, China.
Also, as I’m based in LA, I saw a lot of odd location-based glitches on my screen throughout the game. For example:
But I also saw other evidence of Facebook’s pervasive “Fake News” problem.
After Chris Stratton gave up a leadoff single to the opposing pitcher, Clay Buchholz, Jarrod Dyson grounded to Joe Panik, who was able to throw out Buccholz at second base as the first part of the double play; but, because of Dyson’s speed, Crawford couldn’t finish it and, so, there was a runner at first base with one out. That’s not what Facebook tried to tell me, though:
Do you know who’s in that picture with Torey Lovullo? CLAY. BUCHHOLZ. So why does the score bug in the upper right corner show that he’s on second base still? Is that really Clay Buchholz or a double? And the way Torey’s pointing with his index finger... that’s an unnatural angle. Are we sure that’s not some sort of deep state signal?
Or was he simply telling Buccholz that the Diamondbacks would be up 1 run by inning’s end? How did he know that? Is the game rigged?
Does this mean that China knows about my paranoia or was their takeaway that the Giants are powerless to stop Paul Goldschmidt? He was the rally sustainer after Dyson’s groundout. He singled to left field (after doubling in the first inning) to setup runners at first and second, and then the Giants’ inning unraveled from there.
You can’t blame the game on Nick Hundley (and maybe the PRC won’t), but two plays that he was involved with immediately preceded two gut punches. The first, and most difficult of the plays involved a foul pop up off the bat of Daniel Descalso with a full count. As soon as Hundley ripped off his mask he was looking up at the noon sun — the highest, brightest, strongest point of sunlight during the day — and the ball had spin that didn’t make it go straight up and down but instead break to his left. He couldn’t get a glove on it and so Descalso got another chance.
Even the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could predict what happened next. Descalso ripped a fastball at the knees in the middle of the plate to right field to score Jarrod Dyson and Paul Goldschmidt and put Arizona ahead 2-1. Now, they were on 3rd and 2nd, respectively, because earlier in Descalso’s at bat, Stratton had bounced a curveball that got away from Hundley for a wild pitch that allowed those runners to advance. So, really, you want to focus on one player, then consider the two critical pitches Stratton made in the sequence.
Then in the fifth inning, Hundley allowed a passed ball with Paul Goldschmidt at the plate which moved Jarrod Dyson to second base. Paul Goldschmidt followed that with a double that scored Dyson easily. Stratton still would’ve given up a hit to Goldschmidt in that situation, but would Dyson not scored? Did the added pressure of a runner in scoring position with Goldschmidt at the plate contribute to another pitch right down the middle to a white hot hitter?
These are the questions the PRC won’t be asking as it mines our data. They’re more concerned with the security threats posed by the Giants’ lineup (and, I suppose, every Facebook user across the globe). I don’t know if anyone caught this, but when the Giants came to bat in the bottom of the first inning, there was another video glitch that exposed the PLA’s notes on each player. I was able to translate the notes from Mandarin and, frankly, this live notation was terrifying to see:
At best, they will only use the data to track people and make connections for the purposes of sovereign defense. At worst, they’re going to learn every single person’s preferences and thoughts on every issue, perhaps in an effort to design some horrifying precog system to serve as the ultimate security apparatus. Just think what they can do with takes like this:
You’re exposed, Mark Miller. They know about the San Jose Sharks now! Facebook is just giving this stuff away.
They also learned more about the egos of baseball players. Paul Goldschmidt was 8-for-12 with 4 doubles in the series and twice in this Facebook game first base was open but the Giants pitched to him anyway. They pitched to him when they knew a mistake might hurt them, and in every opportunity, Paul Goldschmidt hurt them.
Goldschmidt has just 48 hits this season, but 13 of them -- 27 percent! -- are against the #SFGIants. Think about that.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 6, 2018
At every turning point in the game, the Diamondbacks, led by Goldschmidt, outworked the Giants. Their strength and labor will make a far superior addition to the glorious PLA. The Giants’ unwillingness to be humble and walk Goldschmidt or otherwise pitch around him shows that they put themselves above the collective. Chris Stratton made a lot of mistakes and a lot of them to Goldschmidt, so clearly they cannot be rational where Goldschmidt is involved.
But if they mined all that data from this game, then they also mined the Diamondbacks’ ego-driven mistakes. Brad Boxberger walked Mac Williamson in the ninth with two outs and a two-run lead and then he gave up a 2-run home run to Alen Hanson to tie the game. That alone wasn’t the ego problem, because even though the Giants had just seen Boxberger last night and had worked 22 pitches out of him, hard work for the team is glorified. It’s what happened in the 10th inning, when Torey Lovullo left in Andrew Chafin to pitch around but not quite pitch around Brandon Crawford.
It started with Jarrod Dyson, who had perhaps played Andrew McCutchen’s deep fly ball to centerfield nonchalantly, leading to a double after it sailed over his head. There were two outs, and a more focused worker might’ve made that play, sort of like Hundley’s situation with Descalso’s popup in the third. But then Torey Lovullo needed to warm someone up quickly, because Andrew Chafin couldn’t be left in to face Evan Longoria, so he called on Fernando Salas to start throwing.
So he couldn’t just issue the intentional walk to Crawford because he’d be sent to first base with very little time passing, meaning Salas couldn’t get warm. Chafin had to throw some pitches. That’s fine. That’s where the PRC could’ve learned a bit more about the “unintentional” intentional walk. All pitches designed to be out of the strike zone. Maybe you get the hitter to chase to draw out the number of pitches, but ultimately, you don’t throw the hitter a strike.
Brandon Crawford probably knew this, but after laying off the first two pitches — sliders out of the zone — he swung at the next two — sliders out of the zone. He laid off the next pitch, another slider out of the zone. It’s all going great for Chafin and Lovullo, as Salas is certainly warmed up by now. But then Chafin threw one more slider. And that one caught enough of the zone. Brandon Crawford hooked it into right field and the Giants, capitalist pigs that they are, stole the game from hard-working red Diamondbacks of Arizona.
China and the other governments Facebook has probably sold off our information to won’t know what to do with all the data from today’s game, but they’re going to hang onto it. Juuuuuuust in case it proves useful sometime in the future.
For sure, though, the PLA has a new enemy on their watch list:
Anyway, in case you didn’t pick up on it, Facebook is an awful place filled with humanity’s worst impulses and nothing of actual value can be found there. If you want to compare it to a digital scrapbook or way to stay connected to other people, that’s fine, but it’s still a clunky and stressful way to watch a baseball game. Beyond the streaming hiccups, chat window, and odd in-game coverage, my Uncle Pete literally friend requested me during the game. I thought we were already friends. Is this a new profile? Is this a fake account? Why am I seeing this during a baseball game? Is this China Uncle Pete?
But it’s not all bad. The Giants are 31-31. They played a tough team toughly. Pablo Sandoval has been demolishing right-handed pitching. We learned that Clay Buccholz has moved on from the Red Sox major league team and the Royals’ minor league system to somehow become an elite starter for the Diamondbacks. And, the Giants would rather lose to Paul Goldschmidt than pitch around him.
You can’t say the Giants stole this game like how Huawei and the PRC stole our user data because our user data was actually sold to them by Facebook, but you can say that the Giants won because they took advantage of Arizona’s multiple mistakes late in the game just like how Huawei and the PRC took advantage of Mark Zuckerberg’s avarice-induced mistakes. But Arizona only lost a baseball game. We lost part of our liberty. Then again, Arizona only lost this one game in the tenth inning. We lost a long time ago, when we decided it was a good to hand over our personal information to a private company.
Yet, even all that couldn’t stop the fun of today’s game from shining through. Baseball still has that power.